Here are five things you must know for Monday, Nov. 18:
1. -- Stock Futures Lifted by 'Constructive' Trade Talks, Rate Cut in China
U.S. stock futures were higher Monday following reports of "constructive" trade talks between Washington and Beijing and a rare rate cut from China that boosted stocks in Asia.
Contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 60 points, futures for the S&P 500 gained 3.95 points, and Nasdaq futures were up 15.25 points.
The People's Bank of China lowered one of its key interest rates for the first time since 2015 in a move some analysts have said could signal further easing in the slowing economy.
China's state-backed media outlet Xinhua, meanwhile, said talks on Saturday in the ongoing trade battle between the U.S. and China were "constructive," raising hopes of at least an interim agreement on tariffs and agricultural purchases between the world's two biggest economies.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer and China's Vice Premier Liu He took part in a phone call Saturday in which the sides the two sides discussed "each other's core concerns in the 'phase one' deal, and agreed to maintain close communication," according to Xinhua.
Denting sentiment in Asia, however, was further violence in Hong Kong, where police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at protesters holed up in the city's Polytechnic University after another weekend of clashes with police over alleged meddling from officials in Beijing.
U.S. stocks finished higher Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average crossing 28,000 for the first time and setting a record high. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also closed at all-time highs.
2. -- NAHB Housing Survey, Manchester United Earnings Highlight Monday's Calendar
The economic calendar in the U.S. Monday includes the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index for November at 10 a.m. ET.
Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank President Loretta Mester is scheduled to speak at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland, at 12 p.m.
Earnings reports are expected Monday from Manchester United (MANU) - Get Manchester United Plc Class A Report . Later in the week reports are expected from Home Depot (HD) - Get Home Depot, Inc. (HD) Report , TJX (TJX) - Get TJX Companies Inc Report , L Brands (LB) - Get L Brands, Inc. (LB) Report , Lowe's (LOW) - Get Lowe's Companies, Inc. (LOW) Report , Target (TGT) - Get Target Corporation Report , Gap (GPS) - Get Gap, Inc. (GPS) Report , Macy's (M) - Get Macy's Inc Report , Splunk (SPLK) - Get Splunk Inc. Report and Nordstrom (JWN) - Get Nordstrom, Inc. (JWN) Report .
3. -- HP Inc.'s Board Rejects Xerox Takeover Bid
HP, the printer and computer maker, said its board "reviewed and considered" Xerox's unsolicited bid from Nov. 5 at a meeting with its financial and legal advisers and has "unanimously concluded that it significantly undervalues HP and is not in the best interests of HP shareholders."
"In reaching this determination, the Board also considered the highly conditional and uncertain nature of the proposal, including the potential impact of outsized debt levels on the combined company's stock," said the board in a letter to Xerox.
HP implied that it would become an acquirer, as opposed to a target of companies looking to buy, when saying that it would use its "strong balance sheet for increased repurchases of our significantly undervalued stock and for value-creating M&A."
But it left the door open to a potential collaboration with Xerox, saying in the letter that it recognizes "the potential benefits of consolidation." It said it's open to "exploring whether there is value to be created for HP shareholders through a potential combination with Xerox."
TheStreet's Jim Cramer had questioned the proposal when it was first announced, saying that "The company wants to offer cash and stock for HP. There's only one problem: Xerox is an $8 billion company and HP is a $30 billion enterprise. Laughable? Yes, in the current configuration, Xerox is not going to be able to buy HP."
HP shares declined 1.68% in premarket trading Monday to $19.84.
4. -- Ford Unveils Electric Mustang Mach-E Utility Vehicle
Set to become available in about a year, the new utility Mustang will have a "targeted EPA-estimated range of at least 300 miles," said Ford. The vehicle also will be able to travel about 47 miles with just 10 minutes of charging with a special 150kW "fast" charger, the automaker said.
The base model for the Mustang Mach-E will start at just below $44,000, with the GT performance version starting at around $65,000.
An electric Mustang would be a dramatic departure from the classic car's earlier models that got relatively poor gas mileage. Even the 2019 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang gets only about 16 MPG in combined city and highway driving using premium gasoline, according to fueleconomy.gov, which said the car would cost drivers an additional $8,250 in gas over five years vs. the average new car.
Ford shares rose 1.12% in premarket trading to $9.05.
5. -- Saudi Aramco's IPO Values Oil Giant at $1.7 Trillion
A clearer picture of oil giant Saudi Aramco's value emerged over the weekend, ahead of finalizing its highly anticipated initial public offering: $1.7 trillion.
"The Offer Price Range for the Offering has been set at SAR 30 to SAR 32 per Share," wrote the Saudi Arabian oil company on Sunday, noting that the "base offer size" will be 1.5% of outstanding shares.
That 1.5% amount, according to Reuters, is about 3 billion shares, putting the amount around $25.6 billion in U.S. dollars, and valuing the entire company at up to $1.7 trillion, below the $2 trillion targeted by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Aramco released its prospectus earlier this month, but was largely criticized in U.S. media for offering little insight into true worth and for revealing little useful information.